#FIFTYTGTHR: Anthem singer Marie Hui reflects on MLS debut and 14 years with the ‘Caps ahead of return to BC Place on Saturday

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Marie Hui. It’s a name many long-time fans of Vancouver Whitecaps FC will recognize.

In fact, the name ‘Marie’ in France comes from the Latin phrase ‘stella maris,’ which translates to ‘star of the sea.’

You could say the meaning, destiny or not, is a near-perfect depiction of Hui’s matchday role as the anthem singer for ‘Caps matches at BC Place.

A star singing freely and passionately in front of a sea of blue and white kits.

Hui has been singing the anthems at ‘Caps matches since the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2011 and is set to perform for the first time this season on Saturday, May 4 as the club hosts it’s 50th Anniversary Match against Austin FC, with a club-record crowd of over 30,000 expected at BC Place. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT and limited tickets are still available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.

Hui learned of the gig in March 2011 after friends and family showed her the ‘Caps were looking for an anthem singer.

“I started getting all these calls and messages,” recalled Hui, “It was like, okay, well, I don't know if I’m even going to get it, there’s so many other talented singers in the city, that's kind of crazy, but okay, I'll try.”

She went on to beat 240 other video contestants to get the chance to audition on Empire Field in front of a judging panel. Hui and 12 other semi-finalists were chosen to battle it out one at a time, singing both the Canadian and American national anthems, describing it as if she was a contestant on ‘Canada’s Got Talent’.

“Then they chose me, which I was shocked. I was like they're never going to pick me but they picked me, then they came down and gave me a jersey and the rest is history.”

“It's an honour to play the part of the anthem singer for any organization, regardless of whether it's a pro sports team or a conference coming to Vancouver. It's an honour for me to be a part of the game. I know there's a ton of other amazing singers in this city so to be one of very, very few anthem singers, it is such a privilege.”

Since then, Hui has gone to sing the anthems many a time in front of ‘Caps fans at Empire Field and BC Place, feeling the love every step of the way.

“Every time I come to BC Place and I step on that pitch, I feel like I am part of the organization, and I am part of the family. The club has always treated me really well,” said Hui.

“To stand on the pitch and sing in front of an ocean of people and to know that everyone is counting on me to lead them to all sing our national anthem, it's an exhilarating feeling.”

In addition, she’s felt an embrace from the fans, with the Southsiders telling her every year to come by to grab her member card, recalling the times she’s sung the anthems in the supporter’s section at BC Place as really cool moments.

Hui, a mother of two, Ronin and Rogue, and married to husband Christopher, notes how special it’s been to share the experience with her family over the years.

“When they are in a stadium and they are watching me, it feels really good, it's like a proud moment for me for my kids to be in the audience,” explains Hui.

“I know that when they see me on the field or they see me on the Jumbotron they’re like ‘hey, it's mommy, it’s mommy’ it's such a nice feeling to know that they're watching me do something completely different than just being a mom.”

It's almost come full circle as well, with Ronin playing his youth soccer games at Empire Field where Hui sang with the ‘Caps in 2011.

This coming Saturday’s match will have a special significance to the family.

Earlier this year during a family vacation in Hong Kong, Christopher was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, resulting in him requiring above-the-knee leg amputation. He is currently awaiting to receive a prosthetic leg.

Saturday will mark the first time Hui sings publicly since the family has returned to Vancouver.

“It’s going to be my first performance back from what happened to us overseas, I think it'll be a really beautiful moment for me to just be able to share my voice again and to sing and to express myself through my voice. I hope to see all of my friends and the community out there and give lots of big hugs,” says Hui, who gives a big thanks to everyone surrounding the club for all the support they’ve received.

“We received a lot of love and support and well wishes from a lot of the Whitecaps community, from the club, as well as the fans. Thank you to everyone for all the support.”

Hui also goes on to thank the organization for giving her the opportunity to become the club’s voice on that memorable spring day in March 2011.

“I want to say thanks for all the support and thanks for all the love, also the opportunity to be a part of the game experience. I'm proud of how the Whitecaps have done, especially this year they're doing so well. I'm proud to be a part of the organization in this beautiful city that we live in and I hope to be a part of this club for the rest of my life.”

It’ll be a momentous occasion for the ‘star of the sea’ on Saturday, and she can’t wait to feel that same exhilarating feeling she’s felt many times while singing the anthems.

Fifty Together

Celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary, presented by BMO, Chevrolet, and MNP, all season long. Learn more about the club’s storied history at www.whitecapsfc50.com.